Tavern Culture Played An Important Role In The American Revolution

Bars have always been about more than cocktails and carousing. Traditionally, they've also served social and cultural functions, too. These functions, in fact, are alluded to in the word pub – short for public house, explains Britannica. Given this strong social and networking component, it should come as no surprise that drinking establishments like taverns and saloons have often been at the center of important historical events.

One notable example, according to Smithsonian Magazine, is the Stonewell riots which took place in New York City in 1969, when imbibers at a neighborhood gay bar rose up after police raided it and attempted to shut it down. The name Stonewall, of course, referenced the bar itself – the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, per History – but in subsequent decades it also became a rallying cry for the growing gay rights movement.

That's not the most famous example, however. A Boston bar called the Green Dragon Tavern was once so popular as a meeting place for fraternal groups and underground organizations, notes Green Dragon Freemasons, that it became ground zero for two of the seminal events associated with the American Revolution. So central was the watering hole, in fact, to the burgeoning independence movement, that in the centuries since it has often been referred to by historians as the "Headquarters of the Revolution."

The Boston Tea Party may have been planned at a tavern

Boston's Green Dragon Tavern was a Union Street institution from its founding in 1697 to its eventual closure in 1832, according to "Old Boston Taverns and Tavern Clubs," an old-timey ode to the city's drinking establishments by author Samuel Adams Drake. This tavern was an exceedingly busy place during the 18th century, per Green Dragon Freemasons. Several noteworthy organizations congregated there regularly, including freemasons and the Boston Caucus. But the most famous of all was the Sons of Liberty. This group is credited with masterminding the Boston Tea Party, recalls History. It was one of the most important precipitating events in the leadup to the American Revolution, and it was allegedly devised at the Green Dragon Tavern.

If the throwing of tea overboard into Boston harbor by patriots dressed as Native Americans to protest taxation without representation wasn't enough to ensure the Green Dragon Tavern's enduring fame, per History, we should also mention that the bar was the supposed starting point for the most famous gallop in American history. It happened at midnight in April 1775, as the legendary poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow attests, and involved a heroic fellow named Paul Revere.

It's true. Revere's legendary midnight ride to alert colonists of British troop movements is also said to have begun at Boston's Green Dragon Tavern. Given this legacy, it should come as no surprise that a contemporary Boston bar has been inspired to take the same name.